Naming children: traditions in 13 different countries

How are children’s names chosen in your country? Do you follow ancient naming traditions or are modern names more popular? Do you pass names down through family generations or invent new ones?

We’ve had a lot of fun writing this post and the subject of how children are named in our various countries has inspired a lot of discussion within our team of contributors. So, read on to find out how children’s names are chosen in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey and the USA.

Have something to add? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


By Ana, regional contributor from Argentina.

There aren’t many clear-cut naming traditions in Argentina nowadays. In the past, first-born babies were named after their parents but now the focus is on distinctiveness. Parents choose names they like or that are fashionable. For example, when Argentinean-born Maxima Zorriegueta married Crown Prince Wilhelm-Alexander of the Netherlands, the name Maxima became very popular.


April 13, 2011 29 comments

Tipping etiquette around the world

A girl from America, a girl from France, a boy from England and a boy from Australia are sitting around a restaurant table in Poland. How much will they tip?

The boy from England: “Ok, we’ve got enough pooled to cover the bill. How much should we tip? I think it’s customarily 10% in Poland, right?”

The girl from France: “No way, I’m not leaving 10%, the service was terrible.”

The girl from America: “Whoa, I was planning to leave 20%!”

tip jar
Photo by Cathleen Shattuck

Our monthly collaborative post is back, and this time we’re talking about tipping etiquette. Here’s what PocketCultures contributors around the world said about when to tip in their countries.


March 16, 2011 5 comments

A New Year Begins in Brazil

Though our calendar started on January 1st, 2011, in Brazil, we always say that the year really starts after carnival. In fact, only on Ash Day after midday. Many of our plans and projects are postponed to the after-carnival calendar, which was a problem this year if you consider that carnival was really late. We generally have it in February.

This year the celebration started on March 5th. Carnival true holiday should have been only on Tuesday, March 8th. In reality, it started on the previous Friday (March 4th), and for many, it goes up to the following Sunday (March 13th)! It is a week-long celebration where many Brazilians travel to enjoy themselves, move their hips, sing until there’s no voice left. For the ones who don’t enjoy the Carnival madness, it is time to rest, be with friends, just goof off and disconnect.

Unidos da Tijuca - champion 2010 Rio Carnaval  024


March 11, 2011 3 comments

How to dress for trendy Rio

Rio de Janeiro (15)

I pack for a trip to Rio to celebrate my birthday. In my bag, nothing like the regular clothes I usually wear in my daily routine. It is more lightweight, with trendy accessories. More intense colors are needed for the perfect looks for the day at the beach and night at Lapa, a place of bohemians. I don’t want to look like a serious girl from Brasilia, but a cool tourist visiting the ebullient city of the Christ the Reedemer.


February 25, 2011 3 comments

What makes Argentineans special?

What I saw in my recent trip to our neighbor-country, Argentina, caused such an impact that I was eager to add it to my own cultural pocket and share it with you.

Are you already aware of the historical rivalry between Brazilians and Argentineans? Mainly because of soccer, and also because of territorial disputes. We are always making jokes the same way the Argentineans do with us. It is just part of the fun, for we are economic partners in Mercosur and we are part of the same big South American continent. Though we try to reinforce how different we are, and boast about our own national culture, we have much more in common than we want to realize.

Buenos Aires - Caminito - Boca (54)


January 27, 2011 7 comments

Brazil: A Country of Constrasts, as seen through Carla’s Eyes

Carla, our regional contributor from Brazil, is a proud Brazilian, an English as a Foreign Language teacher, and a “world citizen.” Read more about why Brazil is such a pleasure to the senses, and how this country of contrasts will surprise you!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am an English as a Foreign Language educator passionate about my work, family and everything I get into. Plus, I’m a very proud Brazilian who feels lucky to have been born in such a special country. I just LOVE cooking, inventing new recipes, remixing old ones. I’m also into photography and just love to connect and learn from people around the world through social media.

Where do you live? Where are you from? If those are different, can you tell us a little about what inspired your move?

I’m now back to Brasilia, my hometown in Brazil, but I’ve lived for two years in Key West, Florida. When I was a teen, I lived as an exchange student in a small town near Seattle in the U.S., and also in Mestre, Italy, a 10-minute train ride from Venice.

I guess I’m just an intrepid, curious traveler and world citizen who wants to learn more about other cultures and explore new perspectives.

If you would describe yourself as multi-cultural, tell us a bit about what culture you most identify with and why.

I’m totally Brazilian, but can’t deny my Italian traditions as my dad is Sicilian. I’m loud, laugh a lot, love to cook Italian food, and I just get thrilled when I can gather family and friends around a big table and spend the day just chatting.

Why did you decide to become a Pocket Cultures contributor?

I decided to become a Pocket Cultures contributor because I wanted to share with the world a bit more about my country and to dispel some myths and stereotypes about it, as well as become part of this multicultural group from which I can travel the world without even leaving home.

Can you describe a typical day for you?

Brasilia is still an atypical city, for we take our kids to school, go to work, then we pick them up at school and have lunch altogether at home. Lunch is all fresh and prepared at home. Then, back to work (I’m responsible for the Educational Technology area of the Bi-national Center I work for and the e-learning program) around 1:50 pm. I stay there until around 6:30 pm, I pick up the kids at the club where they practice sports. We have dinner (generally something light) around 7:30 pm, we watch TV and chat, the kids do their homework. Then, we watch the 9:00 soap opera (very popular in Brazil). The kids go to bed, I stay up with my husband, check my Facebook account, do some work on the computer, blog and go to bed.

What is the best part of living in your country? The worst?

The best part about living in my country? It’s people and the quality of life we have around, plus all the fun we have with friends and family.

The worst? Seeing poverty around us…

What books or films would you recommend to someone who’d like to know more about your country?

In this post about a very famous Brazilian movies “The City of God”, you’ll see in the comments, some of my favorite Brazilian films and a great discussion about Brazilian movies

What’s something that visitors are often surprised by when getting to know your country/culture?

Some visitors still have the stereotyped view of Brazil being simply a developing country made of social problems and poverty. This is certainly true. However, many foreigners get to understand that we cannot define Brazil by being this or that because of its regional contrasts, and mainly because of its economic contrasts. On one side you do see a Third World country, but on the other, there’s a well-developed country with one of the most modern banking systems in the world, electronic ballots that are a model for the world every time we have elections, among other aspects that surprise the ones who visit us. Plus, its cultural diversity and culinary richness is alluring to visitors. Their senses are always surprised by so many things around to explore.

January 5, 2011 Comments disabled